Case study of Bell's palsy applying complementary treatment within an occupational therapy model

Occup Ther Int. 2009;16(1):71-81. doi: 10.1002/oti.267.


For 7% of people with Bell's palsy, facial impairment is permanent. The case study patient was a 48-year-old female who had no recovery from paralysis 12 weeks after onset. Goals were to restore facial sensory-motor functions, functional abilities and reduce depression. Facial paralysis was assessed by clinical observations, the Facial Disability Index and Beck Depression Index. Complementary interventions of aromatherapy, reflexology and electro-acupuncture were used with common physical agent modalities in an intensive home activity and exercise programme. The patient had 100% return of function and resolution of depression after 10 days of intervention. The limitation of this study is that it was a retrospective case study and the investigators reconstructed the case from clinical notes. Further research using a prospective approach is recommended to replicate this study.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Bell Palsy / therapy*
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Therapy*